Stephen reviews: Dark Cat (1991)

darkcat_1Dark Cat [ダークキャット] (1991)

Starring Tsutomu Kashiwakura, Ryotaro Okiayu, Daisuke Gori, Shigeru Nakahara, Aya Hisakawa

Directed by Iku Suzuki


This is clearly one of those anime titles that is a reduced form of the original story it was based upon, except that upon further investigation I can’t find anything that it was based upon. Now that’s pretty bad if it really was this disjointed and incomplete right out of the original design phase. It truly feels as if there is a much larger story to be told, and it just got drastically cut down for a movie adaptation. So many of the plot threads reference backstory that doesn’t exist in the film that I have to believe there was a lager story somewhere, even if only in the writer’s head.

The film opens with a tall dude with hair shaped slightly like cat ears talking to a blue girl in a hospital bed. It cuts back and forth between his conversation and random girls about town vanishing in a flash of light that leaves smoking craters behind. This is actually a pretty good opening that really got me interested in what was going to happen. Sadly, it never really follows up on that mysterious situation. The rest of the film is mostly filled with the emotional struggles of a teenage girl and the guy she’s been in love with since childhood, then a bland fight with a cat monster gets tacked on at the end to wrap things up.

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Stephen reviews: Kimera (1996)

kimera_1Kimera (1996)
AKA Ki*Me*Ra

Starring Yasunori Matsumoto, Mugito, Jurota Kosugi, Tatsuo Tobita, Daisuke Gori, Yoshitaka Arimoto

Directed by Kazu Kokota


Kimera throws a bit of a curveball at you by blending horror with gay romance. I wasn’t quite aware of that particular sub-genre, but I doubt it’s a very large one. What makes it really odd, though, is that the title character is, despite all appearances, actually a woman, and one of the most confusingly gendered characters I’ve ever seen. The film clearly states that she has ovaries and a menstrual cycle, but it makes no mention of male reproductive organs. Kimera, the character, nevertheless looks exactly like a dude. I’m still not sure whether to consider it a cop-out for guys who are insecure about their sexuality so they can say it’s not gay, or whether it was just a forced plot device because the story needed to have a reproductive aspect to work. Either way, it is this gender-bending confusion that becomes the defining aspect of the movie.

This is not the only convoluted thing about this film either. The film’s biggest problem is that its paltry 45-minute run time just isn’t enough time to explain all the ideas that it tackles. I mean, look how long it took me to explain Kimera’s gender, and that’s not even what the film is about. The movie feels very rushed and incomplete, and that really drags it down. If the plot had more room to deal with its ideas it could have been a pretty decent film. As it is, however, it comes across cluttered and incoherent. Other than that, Kimera is a pretty mediocre anime, anyway. If it weren’t for its bizarre gender confusion, it would be a pretty forgettable film.

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